While dealing with a case related to the provision of cable television connections to 1,848 tenements for government employees, the Madras High Court has observed that it would be sensible to deny such connections to government employees, for they would probably be more at peace without watching these television channels.
Justice C.V. Karthikeyan made the observation while dismissing a writ petition filed by Star Channel, a cable TV operator at Gandhi Nagar at Goundampalayam in Coimbatore district, for obtaining the contract to provide connections to 1,848 tenements at the Goundampalayam government officials housing unit.
While refusing to entertain the petitioner’s case on merits, the judge made a passing remark in his judgement that “it would certainly have been a more sensible approach if those officials who work in various government departments are denied television cable connections in entirety as they would probably be more at peace.”
The judge pointed out that the writ petitioner had been given the contract to provide cable television connections and collect monthly charges from 532 tenements for government servants between 2002 and 2012. However, those tenements were razed down in 2012 and the government had now constructed 1,848 tenements. The petitioner submitted an application for providing cable TV connections to all the new tenements in 2019, and furnished a bank guarantee. However, in 2021, the Tamil Nadu Housing Board executive engineer refused to grant the contract to the petitioner on the grounds that the bank guarantee had expired, and instead gave the contract to another operator.
Not finding any reason to interfere with the decision taken by the official, the judge said the petitioner could not seek to enforce a non-existing contract between it and TNHB. When there was no privity of contract between the two parties, it would be open to TNHB to appoint any cable operator for providing the connections, he added.
“It is a matter of subjective satisfaction. This court cannot thrust a contract on the respondents. This court cannot also sit as an appellate authority over a decision taken,” the judge concluded.